Private Prisons

Private Prisons

In the early 1980s, the Corrections Corporation of America pioneered the idea of running prisons for a profit. “You just sell it like you were selling cars, or real estate, or hamburgers,” one of its founders told Inc. magazine. Today, corporate-run prisons hold eight percent of America’s inmates. Here’s how the private prison industry took off: read here.

Justice Department seeks increase in private prison beds

Last August, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announced a plan to wind down the bureau’s reliance on private prisons after an inspector general report found that they posed higher security risks than public prisons.
“Private prisons served an important role during a difficult period, but time has shown that they compare poorly to our own [bureau] facilities,” Yates wrote in a memo. “They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department’s Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security.”
Shortly after taking office, Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded Yates’ directive.
“The memorandum changed long-standing policy and practice, and impaired the Bureau’s ability to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system,” Sessions said in a memo.
The official solicitation is expected to be posted later this month and contracts can take up to two years to be awarded.  Read more here.

Another “she persisted” moment?

Another “she persisted” moment?

GOP panel chairman scolds Kamala Harris about ‘courtesy’ after she grills deputy AG on Russia probe

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) was scolded by a Republican committee chairman Wednesday as she grilled law enforcement and intelligence officials on the Russia probe.

The California Democrat sought assurances from deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein that he would allow special counsel Robert Mueller to fully and independently investigate possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia.

“You indicated in your statement that you chose a person who exercises a ‘degree’ of independence — not full independence — from the normal chain of command,” Harris said.

Then Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) broke in and asked the committee chairman to direct Harris to let Rosenstein speak.

“Are you willing or are you not willing to give him the authority to be fully independent of your ability, statutorily and legally, to fire him?” Harris said. “Yes or no, sir?”

Rosenstein said regulations gave Mueller full independence, and Harris again asked if he could give his assurance in writing, as his predecessors had — and the committee chairman interrupted her.

“Would the senator suspend?” said Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “The chair is going to exercise its right to allow the witnesses to answer the question, and the committee is on notice to provide the witnesses the courtesy, which has not been extended all of the way across, the courtesy for questions to get answered.”

Harris pointed out that Rosenstein had joked about his ability to filibuster, and the deputy attorney general interjected to say he had not been joking.

Rosenstein then gave a lengthy answer, as Harris’s time for questions ran out, without offering explicit testimony that he would offer written assurance of Mueller’s independence.

“So is that a no?” Harris said, as the chairman called on the next senator for questioning.

Photo: Sen. Kamala Harris (MSNBC)

Another prison facility closes as CT inmate population shrinks

Another prison facility closes as CT inmate population shrinks

The administration of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Wednesday the closure of the 254-bed Radgowski annex at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center in Montville, saving about $3 million in annual operating costs.

“As crime in Connecticut has dropped to its lowest level in two generations and the prison population has subsequently declined to its lowest level in 23 years, we’ve been able to create efficiencies by closing outdated prisons and portions of facilities, and reallocating these resources toward efforts that will further enhance public safety initiatives and keep our neighborhoods even safer,” Malloy said.

The closure and budget savings are the dividend the state is collecting on the falling crime rate and prison population. The inmate population is now 14,560, down from a peak of 19,894 in 2008.

WHEN POVERTY PERMEATES THE CLASSROOM

TROUBLED SCHOOLS ON TRIAL: FIRST OF SEVEN STORIES

WHEN POVERTY PERMEATES THE CLASSROOM

Struggling to cope with past sexual abuse and a mother who works long hours at a low-wage job, Alex regularly breaks down while at school.

The screaming, crawling and crying of this 5-year-old at North Windham Elementary School – and the arrival of an ambulance when he sometimes begins to hurt himself – are disruptions that make it hard to keep other students focused.

“It’s a continued struggle to survive emotionally,” said Catina Cabán-Owen, the only social worker at her school of 466 students. “This child does not have the support, because the mother cannot provide it.”

Alex, whose name has been changed to protect his privacy, is watched by a neighbor while his mother works. His father is not around.

A student walks by one of the many boarded up houses in an impoverished neighborhood in Hartford on the way to school.

While Alex’s struggle is extreme, his basic story – a student living in poverty who needs help coping with trauma – is common. He is among many students for whom poverty creates or exacerbates obstacles to learning. Read more here. 

FREE Construction & CNA Job Training Program

Image result for community renewal team hartford ct

Community Renewal Team (CRT) Capital City YouthBuild AmeriCorps program is currently recruiting young people from Hartford, between the ages of 18-24. The participants selected will have the opportunity to obtain their high school diploma and develop skills for success while pursuing a career in Construction or Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).  Participants who have their high school diploma, will work mainly on completing the training of their choice while developing their skills for success as they transition to employment, post-secondary education or additional training.

All selected participants have the opportunity to receive their OSHA-10 certificate, Home Builders Institute (HBI) PACT certification, CPR, CNA and ServSafe certification depending on their certification selection. All participants will be eligible for a stipend and incentives.

If you know anyone interested, applications can be picked up at CRT Youth Artisan & Technology (YAT) Center located at 1443 Main Street in Hartford.
If additional information is needed, please feel free to contact Cynthia Baisden via email at baisdenc@crtct.org.

Evangelical Pastor Shunned For Welcoming LGBT People

Evangelical Pastor Has A New, Thriving Congregation

Adam Phillips went from rising evangelical star to outcast to leader of a new, inclusive church.

Antonia Blumberg    Associate Religion Editor, The Huffington Post

Evangelical pastor Adam Phillips moved to Oregon to start Christ Church: Portland in the spring of 2014. Nine months later, the evangelical denomination Phillips worked for kicked him out and pulled two years of funding from the church.

Phillips’s transgression? Advocating for the full inclusion of LGBT Christians in the church.

A new short documentary by The Atlantic traces Phillips’s journey from rising evangelical star to outcast to leader of a new, inclusive congregation. It’s been less than two years since the Evangelical Covenant Church dealt Phillips that blow, and in that time the pastor has built up a thriving church community that doesn’t compromise on its convictions. Watch the video here.

German Evangelical Church Renounces Anti-Semitic Mission To Convert Jews

German Evangelical Church Renounces Anti-Semitic Mission To Convert Jews

MARTIN LUTHER TOLD HIS FOLLOWERS TO PRAY FOR JEWS TO CONVERT TO CHRISTIANITY. CENTURIES LATER, THE EVANGELICAL CHURCH IN GERMANY IS WRESTLING WITH ITS PAST.

Image result

The Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) has officially renouncedits mission to evangelize and convert Jews.  The EKD’s annual synod, a central decision-making body for one of the largest Christian denominations in Germany, unanimously approved a resolution on November 9 that declared that Christians “are not called to show Israel the path to God and his salvation.” “All efforts to convert Jews contradict our commitment to the faithfulness of God and the election of Israel,” the resolution states, according to the Religion News Service. 

 

Pope Francis Extends Power To Forgive Abortion To All Catholic Priests

Pope Francis Extends Power To Forgive Abortion To All Catholic Priests

Image resultPope Francis on Monday extended indefinitely to all Roman Catholic priests the power to forgive abortion, a right previously reserved for bishops or special confessors in most parts of the world. Francis, who has made a more inclusive and forgiving Roman Catholic Church a characteristic of his papacy, made the announcement in a document known as an “apostolic letter” after Sunday’s close of the Church’s “Holy Year of Mercy”. Read more here.
 

Child Care Expense Causes Stress

Poll: Cost Of Child Care Causes Financial Stress For Many Families (are you surprised?)

 

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Most parents have experienced sticker shock when they find out just how much it will cost to care for their infant or toddler full- or even part-time. For parents who have little choice, this can be a big financial strain.

In fact, the most common challenge parents face when looking for child care is the high cost. That’s the finding of a recent poll from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Listen to the entire program here.

Need a subsidy to help pay for childcare?   Read the article in the CT Mirror:

State says bailout unlikely for Care4Kids child care subsidies

A bailout to close a major shortfall in a program that subsidizes child care so low-income parents can work is unlikely, the governor’s budget director said Friday.

Earlier this year the state suspended new enrollment by tightening eligibility requirements for the popular Care4Kids program, but the move did not reduce costs enough, and an $8.7 million shortfall lingers – a 15 percent structural deficit.

The state is now considering closing the remaining shortfall by further changing eligibility requirements to eliminate daycare help for about 300 families now in the program each month, a decrease of about 2,000 families over the year.

Read more here.

Environmental Racism is in CT Too!

Environmental Racism

Humankind has so much become one family that we cannot ensure our own security unless we ensure the security of all others.” - Bertrand Russell, from Simple Prosperity

Why Is Environmental Racism an Issue of Faith?

People of faith are called to care for all of our neighbors, regardless of their race, their income level, or their life circumstances. Jesus taught us this behavior in the parable of the Good Samaritan. He was also a student of the Hebrew Scriptures where he learned to “let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream.” Jesus did not discriminate or separate people into artificial groups, but rather declared that the Kingdom of God is available to all of God’s children.

Read more HERE.

Lead Exposure Exposes Environmental Racism

by Alli Van Leer

Environmental Justice affirms the need for urban and rural ecological policies to clean up and rebuild our cities and rural areas in balance with nature, honoring the cultural integrity of all our communities, and provided fair access for all to the full range of resources. – 12thPrinciple of Environmental Justice, 1991

For over sixty years scientists, business leaders and government officials have been aware of the detrimental impact of childhood exposure to lead. In the 1970’s research by Herbert Needleman, MD and his team in exposed the effect of even a low dose of lead exposure during childhood. Needleman et al.’s paper, “Deficits in psychologic and classroom performance of children with elevated dentine lead levels” also shifted the focus from the somatic based health effects of lead to the physiological and cognitive effects.

Lead has historically been used in a wide array of industrial products, most importantly gasoline, paint and water piping. The process of removing lead from gasoline began in 1965 and was officially banned from on road vehicles in 1996. Lead was banned from the use of paint in 1978, though remains on the wall of buildings and houses painted prior to 1978. While lead is rarely used today in water piping it remains in many homes and city water lines (Gilbert, 2006).

Read more here.

“Toxic Communities” and the Fight for Environmental Justice

JAN 8, 2015
Dorceta Taylor.
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SCHOOL OF NATURAL RESOURCES & ENVIRONMENT / CREATIVE COMMONS
Dorceta Taylor’s most recent book, Toxic Communities, takes a magnifying glass to the modern environmental justice movement. In it, she provides an in-depth analysis of some of the biggest environmental issues facing low-income and minority communities across the U.S.  Listen to the interview here.